Why meditation is so crucial to our happiness
We can always find reasons, real or imagined, to avoid meditation. I used to have a long list of reasons why meditation wasn’t for me. I thought I had to change my lifestyle to meditate (not true) and it was never the “right time.” Sound familiar?
We all know meditation has major benefits, so why do we have so many excuses to avoid it? And we know we need self-care, but we just don’t prioritize it.
Eventually, I got over myself and learned to meditate. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t started sooner. Meditation truly transforms and improves life from the inside out. But even with a dedicated practice, my mind will try to justify skipping a meditation (just this once, of course).
So how do we move past the excuses?
We first have to understand there is no perfect time to meditate. We’ll never meditate if we’re waiting for a silent candlelit room or a moment with no to-do list in sight. We meditate to feel relaxed and renewed — not the other way around. Why meditation works so well is its ability to help us deal with the constant chaos that life presents.
Don’t allow excuses to keep you away from the powerful benefits of meditation. Below are some common stories we tell ourselves to avoid mediation (and how to overcome them for some well-deserved peace).
You’d meditate… if only you had the time.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” – Zen Proverb
If you have a busy schedule, it can feel challenging or counterproductive to meditate. The (scientific) truth is, meditation improves your focus and increases your productivity. Not only will you get more done, you may even find a little joy in your tasks along the way.
Need more motivation? Maybe it will put things into perspective to learn that Katy Perry, Oprah, and Tom Brady meditate daily. If they can find time to meditate, anyone can. These super busy celebs find the time for one simple reason — they make meditation a priority. Once you decide to make meditation a priority, it eventually becomes an automatic part of your routine (just like brushing your teeth). Try meditating first thing in the morning to make sure you get it in. You can even prop up in bed for a “beditation.”
Your mind is too busy. This is precisely why meditation feels overwhelming or too difficult. We fail to accept that meditation is exactly how we can bring our minds to a calmer place.
Meditation doesn’t always feel “peaceful” or “successful,” but that doesn’t mean the benefits aren’t seeping into your life. It’s totally normal to find it difficult to bring your attention back to something (like your breath) in the depths of racing thoughts.
The goal of meditation isn’t to achieve a “blank” mind. Regular practice helps us build the muscle to notice our thoughts without judgment. It’s when we catch our thoughts taking over the show that we take a step back from the autopilot chatter of the mind. With practice, you’ll find that your mind quiets down more and more.
Do you struggle to sit still? Try a moving meditation like yoga or tai chi to settle your mind and body. It can also be useful to listen to a guided meditation to help you feel relaxed. Check out this chakra meditation or a meditation app like Insight Timer.
You’re not sure if meditation is really for you
Meditation is sorta like going to the gym for the mind. You can’t just show up once and leave with a six-pack. It takes time for meditative peace to sink into daily life. If we think we should understand everything about meditation and its benefits right away, we’ll likely struggle to meditate regularly. Trust the process. My teacher once told me, if you feel better (even just a tiny bit better) after a meditation you’re doing it right. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
If you’ve tried to stick it out and you’re still not sure meditation is your thing, consider exploring different forms of meditation. There are so many techniques out there, each with a totally different approach. Meditation experts have sorted meditation techniques into three categories: focused attention (concentration on your breath or an object), open awareness (mindfulness), and automatic self-transcending (transcendental meditation).
That’s just a fancy way to say there’s a method for everyone: mindfulness meditation (active or seated), transcendental meditation, concentration meditation, Vedic meditation, shamanic journeys, guided visualizations, or even just taking a walk. Remember, all forms of meditation are easy to practice and make life (much) more manageable.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of thinking about the same stressors over and over again. Meditation helps us rest peacefully in our awareness instead. Sure, there are times you have to meditate in your car in-between meetings (or force yourself out of a deep Instagram scroll). As with anything, it takes an effort to stay committed, but the benefits are endless.